Not so long ago Romy, Donja, their dogs and I strolled through the Ritthemse forest where we shot a lovely maternity session. Her estimated due date is the 12th of June.
On Tuesday the fifth of June (39 weeks pregnant), Donja thinks her waters have broken. The midwife comes by, but the test is negative for amniotic fluid. It’s unclear. In the evening Donja sends me a text message and writes that they have to wait patiently and, if nothing happens, they’re expected at the hospital in Goes on Wednesday morning. Anything can still happen…
I go to bed a bit late and decide to set my alarm for 9 am to make sure I’m well rested in case it’s about to start (and with the hope that I will be able to get some sleep 🙂 ). At 8:30 the following morning it’s not my alarm that wakes me but my telephone ringing: it’s Romy. Donja has had contractions all evening, but they’re not really progressing (every 10 minutes). They’re about to go to the hospital. I jump out of bed and make sure I’m ready to leave for when they call again.
Donja herself calls me at 11:39 and she sounds cheerful. A bit TOO cheerful for someone who should be well on her way to giving birth. They have to head back home. The contractions aren’t strong enough. Once they come every 2 to 3 minutes for a full hour, they can call back. If this doesn’t happen, they’ll have to induce the birth the following day, considering the waters have already broken (this has been confirmed). At this point still anything can happen…
Romy calls back at 15:50. The contractions have been coming every 2 minutes for the past 45 minutes, but at one point there was an 8 minute break in-between so he’s unsure whether he has to start timing again from the beginning. Sweet of him to call and let me know! I tell him he can surely call the hospital after another fifteen minutes or so. At 18:08 I receive a message from him: “6cm we can stay”. Wow, it’s going really well! I quickly take my casserole out of the oven, eat a quick bite and jump in the car. That’s the nice thing about covering a birth in the area (20 minutes drive), you can still do a few things at home before heading out.
I arrive at the hospital at 7 pm. Not long after I arrive Donja starts feeling a slight urge to push. Another check indicates she’s now 8cm dilated, it’s just gone 19:20. The baby isn’t quite in the right position yet, so the midwife suggests she stands next to the bed.
Donja seems a bit out of it and she is so incredibly calm that she makes it look like a piece of cake. What a strong woman! No moaning, screaming or complaining, just puffing occasionally. It’s this kind of birth that makes you think: I’d like a baby of my own :-). Romy is glued to her side, with every contraction he holds her closely and together they do a little dance (rocking back and forth), and he supports her every way he can. It’s endearing to look at.
At 19:45 Donja, with a hazy look in her eyes, looks around the room and asks: “do you have ice-cream?” We all look at her a bit surprised… You’re about to push and you feel like having an ice-cream? Haha. I go have a look around the shops and return with a rocket, hardly able to imagine that she’s about to eat it. But Donja is delighted. In-between contractions she eats her ice-lolly and at some point when Romy tries to take hold of the ice-cream because it starts to drip, Donja simply skips a few puffs just to lick the ice-cream. Fantastic :).
At 8 pm she receives some morphine. She is also given some oxygen through her nose, to give the baby a bit more as well. The urge to push becomes very strong but she has to wait. The reason is that if you push before your cervix is fully dilated there’s a change that the sharp impact of the baby’s head may cause swelling, making it more difficult for the baby to come out. Having to puff when you really want to push is incredibly difficult, hence the morphine to help her out a bit. If I had to pick a moment in which I noticed that Donja was struggling, I’d say it was the half hour leading up to 20:35. Unfortunately the morphine doesn’t seem to help much, or as Donja puts it herself “it doesn’t do jack”.
At 20:35 she’s allowed to start pushing! Great! She’s doing great, although their little boy seems to think differently. The CTG indicates that he’s not doing too great. The midwife calls on the gynaecologist and he quickly decides they’re going to lend a hand and use the vacuum pump. As I mentioned in the previous blog; I know Donja and Romy on a personal level and I don’t like the idea of using a vacuum pump one bit. Necessary, I know, but I also know how awkward it can be. For Donja it goes in one ear and out the other and in the meantime I try and prepare Romy a bit for what’s about to come. I want to tell him that the head can look a bit strange, and that baby’s don’t look very pink when they come out, but that these are things that will go away. I just don’t want Donja to hear this, but then again, she doesn’t seem to be hearing anything anyway, so I risk it. I softly whisper: “It could be that he’ll have a pointy head, but this will go away within a few hours”. Donja immediately responds in a clear voice: “How long exactly?!” Ooooh of course THAT she did hear. I’m afraid to say any more so I just cross my fingers and hope all goes well.
The suction cup (which is placed on the baby’s head) is attached, and once again, all respect for Donja, she lets it wash over her. The gynaecologist only has to help the baby along twice and there he is: Tijn! He looks a bit blue at first (or as Romy said later on: “he was as purple as the camera case over there”), but he’s doing incredibly well right from the start!
He’s a gorgeous little man with a lot of hair and looks at the world around him through clear eyes. It takes Romy a little while to realize he’s become a father of a beautiful healthy son, but once reality hits him he’s got a smile on his face from ear to ear.
I only leave around midnight. At first Tijn cuddles with his mummy and afterwards he’s allowed some skin-on-skin contact with his daddy. They receive a lot of visitors who all take pictures and admire this stunning little man. They all want to know how Donja has done. I say it once more, just for her mother to hear: “you can be proud of your daughter, an amazing achievement”. Tijn is weighed (3420 grams), measured and receives his first set of clothes. He has a brilliant little body suit which Donja and Romy have had made especially for him, so special!
We take a few more nice pictures for the birth announcement after which I leave two incredibly happy parents behind. Romy and Donja: congratulations!!!